February 2013 Newsletter

by Vernon Giesbrecht

Dear friend of Double Harvest,

Thank You – We are grateful for the trust you put in Double Harvest as we pursue our mission to “help people help themselves” in developing countries like Haiti, Ethiopia and South Sudan. The confidence you show through your contributions and prayers is evidence of the compassion you feel for the people living in impoverished situations. As previous Updates have noted, although we are involved with relief and compassion ministries, our central objective is ‘development” in nature – giving the people the resources, tools and training to establish productive agricultural and related projects to feed the local population and to build the economy. These efforts are all infused with a spiritual dimension which we believe affects the success of these projects. Yes, we desire both a physical and spiritual harvest. Thus our name and our motto – “Sowing Seeds of Life”! Briefly, here are some highlights from Haiti during the past month.

Progress – Last month, Haitians paused to remember the devastating earthquake that occurred three years ago. A resident missionary captured the situation: “I’ve seen notable progress over the last year but it is sadly only bringing things back to the old very, very poor standards. While many still struggle with post-earthquake distress, they constantly confront other trials. Trauma is part of everyday life in Haiti so, in one sense, people move on because there are new challenges each month.” Yet, there is a certain resiliency. The people find innovative ways scrambling to just get by in a country where unemployment hovers around 60% and most earn $2 a day. Political instability and the inability of the government to find consensus however keeps change at a snail’s pace.

Medical Team – In January, we hosted a medical team from Tennessee. This mix of 17 professionals and aids ministered wonderfully to the health needs of our workers and the people in surrounding villages. Using our Clinic as a base, during the week they performed dental extractions and treated common infections, skin disorders, anemia/malnourishment, women’s issues, and arthritis. Over 600 patients were seen and helped, from two year-olds to the elderly! The team also ventured out to the very poor “Fishermen’s Village” to conduct a mobile clinic, again treating a number of health problems. Church-based, the team also prayed with many of the patients through interpreters, offering them spiritual hope in the midst of disheartening circumstances.

Work Team – During the same week, a work team got their hands dirty pouring a concrete pad surrounding a large silo, to be used to dry grain from the farm. They also took down and replaced walls of ceramic tile in our kitchen and cafeteria, where a noon meal is prepared every work and school day for our farm workers, students and faculty. We thank this group of seven men!

Vernon Giesbrecht
N. A. Coordinator